Monday, August 6, 2012

First Impressions - Pleng's Song

For our second submission this month, Dianne and I have something a little different. This first page has already made it out into the world and received a national review in Thailand. Apparently it is quite popular there with international school students. Here is Patrick Maher's first page of PLENG'S SONG, a YA adventure story.You can find him on twitter @BangkokPatrick.

Chapter 1
Busted by the Principal!

Unbelievable! I just had the worst day of school ever because I got busted by the principal for having my iPhone in class. My teacher, Mr. James, was making us organize our notebooks, folders, pencils, markers, and all our other boring school supplies when the principal stopped by to say hello.
      “I’m just walking around to see how all the classes are doing,” Ms. Sinclair said in a friendly voice. “We are so lucky to have such wonderful students at Union of Hearts International School.” Is it necessary here to say the name of the school? She could just say "our school." Just a thought.
      As she spoke, I was scrolling through my iPhone looking for a message about my father who is a businessman in Thailand. He was supposed to be meeting the prime minister at the Government House and I was checking to see whether my dad had sent me a message telling me they had met. I mean, how many people get to meet the prime minister?
     “Excuse me (comma) young girl,” Ms. Sinclair said with an angry voice as the skin above her upper lip wrinkled up tightly. “You need to come to my office, right now.”
The whole class froze, even my teacher. I stood up feeling sick and followed the principal out of the classroom, down the hall, and into the principal’s office. My heart was racing. I passed the secretary, Ms. Nok, and her jaw dropped. In the morning, I had told her my dad might be meeting the prime minister. I wanted to ask her for help but Ms. Sinclair angrily interjected.
     “Get this girl’s parents on the phone now!”
    I could feel the rice soup I had eaten for breakfast slowly start churning in my stomach. It was as if the pieces of rice had become ants and were crawling up my throat. Trying not to throw up, I sat down in the chair facing the principal’s desk.
     “What do you think you’re doing with an iPhone in the classroom?” Ms. Sinclair asked with her long red hair looking like it had flames rising from its tips. (I like this analogy; it does double duty by describing the hair as flamelike which thus shows us the feeling our narrator is getting.) I knew I had a lot of explaining to do.
    “Well…” I said, gasping for breath and speaking quickly. “My father is a businessman and...”
    Ms. Sinclair quickly interrupted me. “I don’t care what your father does for a living. At this school, we don’t allow iPhones in class under any circumstances.”
   The pieces of rice in my throat started moving and felt like dirty cockroaches trying to escape an angry housekeeper.The principal continued talking but I wasn’t listening. I tried my best to focus. Everything was blurry and I felt dizzy. Then my gaze fell on the garbage can next to Ms. Sinclair’s desk. I dove for it as the most disgusting rice soup shot out of my mouth, landing right on the principal’s carpet. I missed the garbage can completely.


Well! I'm afraid I didn't find a whole lot to crit because I really liked this a lot. Especially our narrator's reaction which shows us how she is feeling. My only concern is that this might not be exciting enough for YA in this country. But I could be wrong and I would really like to hear what other people think. That said I would've happily read on. I'll just add that if the author wanted to increase the pace of this there are places where words could be cut. But read it for yourself and let me know what you think. 

Don't forget to head over to Dianne's and see what she had to say about this!


  1. Fun set up! I would definitely read on.

    I might suggest the principal just calls it a phone - as they're all probably banned. In our area, principals probably wouldn't react with such anger, they'd probably just take the phone with an eye roll :)

  2. I agree with your comments and the word cutting eg "quickly interrupted'. Don't need the adverb.
    And yep, I'd read on too.


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